Saturday, November 22, 2014

Review: Nightcrawler (2014)

                                           'Nightcrawler' Shines Even With Its Dark Tone
          I have always felt that anybody can be a journalist by simply turning on the record button on whatever device they have and that might be why newspaper and TV journalism are dying breeds. Even though Nightcrawler never taps into the new age of journalism might be living in, nor does it say how TV journalism isn't as relevant as social media, it still tells an old-fashioned story in a rather new way.
          Nightcrawler is about a man named Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) who, desperate for work, decides to enter the dark underworld of crime journalism. Once he uses his camera with the help of his assistant Rick (Riz Ahmed) to film events ranging from carjackings to home invasions, Bloom starts to take things a step too far as he blurs the line between observer and aggressor with the aid of a TV news director named Nina (Rene Russo).

         I'll start off with Jake Gyllenhaal's performance. Gyllenhaal gives probably the best performance I've seen him give thus far. It is an impressively layered performance as his gaunt appearance represents how his character is like a hungry animal and yet his performance also lies in the shift of his voice. Through the light tone that he talks in, underneath that lies charm, drive, and even vanity. I always thought he was a good actor, but he is just tops in this. Next, I'll get into Rene Russo. Since Russo has been under the limelight for quite some time, it is nice that Russo has a role she can really sink her teeth into as a news head with a Diana Christensen complex. Riz Ahmed is also very good as Lou's more sympathetic intern who slowly learns the error of his ways once he partners with his sociopathic boss.
         Another thing that I liked is how they didn't show the more glamorous side of L.A. yet they didn't show the ugliest side of either (i.e., South Central). In the film, Nina says how she wants to focus on crime in middle-class America and not only does Lou do that, but once we see his antics get much worse as the film progresses, we realize that by simply hitting the record button on our camcorder or smartphone, anybody can become a journalist and that actually left me a bit shaken after the film ended. While I have a weird feeling that it may leave some aspiring journalists optimistic at the idea that by hitting the record button, their dreams may occur, but at the same time, there are those that are willing to go for the literal gory details by whatever means.

         I did think that there were small points that the film dragged, but that could be because I watched this early in the morning and I might not have had enough coffee. Other than that, I had no major problems.

         Overall, Nightcrawler is a tense thriller that features a rich performance by Jake Gyllenhaal that is transformative in many ways. While it has a small optimistic twist, it still really 'crawls' underneath your skin.

          Would I Recommend It?:
         If you want to be a journalist, I would say "yes". This could serve as a warning saying if you want to find your own stories, do so without having to break somebody's back. Also, if you like Jake Gyllenhaal, I would definitely say give it a watch.

Grade: B+